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An Artist In Crime

An Artist In Crime image
Parent Issue
Day
7
Month
April
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

[Copyright, ltSa, G. P. Putnam's Sühb.J CHAPTER V. THE SEVENTH BUTTON. On the secón d fioor of the apartment honso in EastThirticthstreet lrvedMrs. Mortiiner Remsen and her two daugh-ters., Eniily and Dora. Mrs Remsen's husband had been dead xaore than ten years, but he had arnassed a handsome fortune, which left his family able tomaintain the positionin New York society to whieh they were heirs by birth and breeding. They lived ia the most commodious apartment iu the magniflcent bnilding in Thirtieth street and were snrroundcd by au elegant luxnry which results froru a coaibinatiou of wealth and reflned taste. They entertained fveqnently, and Mrs. Remsen, atill a handíioiufi woman, was always a conspicnous figure at the most notable social and charitable eveuts of the aeason. Emily, the eldest danghter, was a woraau of 26, who commanded rather thau ottracted adiniratiou. She was of admirable proportinns, ca--y and ropjai cairiage, wiih a fine heud wel] poised on magnificent fhoulders. As to her face - v.oli, 1 carinot describo it better than did tlvc pjniucnt artist, Gaston de Castilla, wbowas requestcd to paint her portrait. "Madam, "aid ho to her mothor, "I do nut like to uudeitake your conmiission. Yonr dsughter has cno oí' thoso mai'velc'.is faces v.iiich defy art. Every feature is a departure f rom recognizcd standards, and yet the result i.s nobility and beauty óf the highest type. Oiily nature herself can produce such effects. Through an imperfect countenance she sheds the rays of au ilhuniued soul, till all faults are obliterated, forgotten. We poor artists cauuot liope to suppJy on our cold canvas what so singular a face inust have to make it beautiful. " Nevertheless he did paint the portrait, the onewhich the detective had seen in Mr. Mitchel'sroom, and he had succeedcd at least in snggesting the marvelous effects of character, reveuling itself throngh the features. Other painters had failed, perhaps beoause they appreciated less than he what they atteinpted. This description also give.s a bint of the woman hersélf. A combination of &11 the softer emotional elemeuts, she dominated self aud others by a supremo will. She was rarely disobeyed by suitor or by servan t. Tliat she had engaged herself to marry Mr. Mitchel had surprised the entire circle within which she moved, and yet perhaps the secret of bis snccess lay in the simple fact that lie had had the courage to ask tor her, aud to do so iu a loving but mast erf ui v?ay ■which plainly showed that he anticinated no refusal or coy hesitancy. His woohig had beeu of animpetuous whirl■wind kind, rad he was affiauced to lier within a inonth of their acqnaiutaiice. It was this fact whieh had oaused the most commeut. Mr. Mitchel moved iu good society, but he was a newcomer, and now that he had captured the prize of the matrimonial market all were iiskiug "Who ia he?" a qn est ion which none seemed able to auswer. He was a ïoutherner, and that single ïat-t had shed a bout him a halo of attraetive light which had blinded ihe eyesof thosewbo feebly attempted to look deeper. Mrs. Reuüseu had profcested whea Emily apnouneed her engagement, but Emily had replied, "Mother, I have givcn my word." and tho discussion was énded. A few moments later she had affectionately seatod herself at her mother' a feet, and, after tenderly kissing her, whispered: "I love hiui. He is my kiug," aud tiien buried her head in her pareut's lap. Few women argue agaiust au appeal of that nature. ïhus Emily aud Mr. Mitchel became engaged, after which he carne and went umch as thongh he wore the raaster of the house. Why not, siuco he had becouie the master of its mistress? Dora was her j.te''''s antithesis, save that bofh wero l.)ettes. She was siniply a lovable, (iocile, improssionable, pretty girl. She adored her mother and worshiped her sister, whom she called "TheQueeu. " Dora wasouly 17. ïhere had been three boys boru befrween the sisters, but they had dicd in ilifauey. The two girls were in the smnptvious parlor of their apartment, Emily lying on the soft. lounge, while Dora sat uear her in a cozy arinchair, which made her look uluiost a little girl. "Qneen, did yon enjoy the opera last night?" asked Dora. "Oh, yes," replied Emily, "but you kuow, my dear, comió opera is coime opera, and all is said. " "It's all very fine for you to talk in that patronizing way, 'Qneen, about amuseuieut, bnt it is different with me. I have not outgrown the theater yet. I'll teil yon whafc I have been thinking of seriouslv" - "Seriously," langlied Emily, pinching her pretty sister's cheek. "Why, yon sly little rogue, you couldn fc be" serious if yon tried. " "Oh, couldn'tll Bnt listeu. I ani going to ask Bob" - "Bob?" "Mr. Mitohel, yon know. I told him last Mighc that I mean t,o cali him Bob after this, and he kissed me and suid it was a bargain. " "Kissed you, did he? Well, Miss Iiapudence, I like that!" "So did I. Bnt you need notscold becanse yon know what Bob says is law You are as mnch afraid of him as- well, as all the rest of the men are of yon. But I haven 't told yon what I am going to do. I want Bob to take me with yon both whenever yon go to the theater. " "Oho! So that is yonr little plot, is it?" "Yes! What do you think of it? ' ' What do I think of it? Now I pball surprise you. I thiuk it is an excellen idea. I love you very rnuch, iny li tt Ie sweetheart sister, and sha]] be only too glad to see yon have as much pleasure I as your heart longs f or. ' ' "You darling Queen !" and with an impetuous bound the younger girl was on lier knees with her anus aronnd Emily, raiuing kisses upon her lips. This effusive show of affectiou Emily received with evident pleasur. for, however dignified she could be in her beariug, leaving the impression that she wascold, in reality she was warm hearted to a degree which wonld have urpriserl the gopsips. Nestling her liead in the folds of her sister's soft silk gowu, thus hidiag her face, Dora said tiiuidly : "May I teil you souiething, Queen?" "Bal Ton mischief, what have you to coufess now?" "I have invited a man to cali here," replied Dora, suddenly raising her head and speaking with a different touch in her toues. "Is that all?" laughed Emily. "Who is the monster: Where did you meet him?" "I hava met hini several times at afternoon teas. The last time lie asked me if he mightcall, and I toldhim hecould do so this afteruooii when I thought you would be athome. Was itvery wrong?" "Well, Dora, I don't think it was exactly proper, but perhaps it may be all rigbt, since you have met hiin at several of erar friends' houses. But what is his naine?" "Alphonse Thauret. " "A Frenchman?" "Yes, thougli he spoaks English with only a very slight accent. " "I don't like Frenehmeu. 1 kiiow it is prepesterous prejudiee, but I nevor meet one without thinking him a possible adventnrer. Witli their soft, sycophantic ways, they reiuiud me of cats, and I expeet them to show their claws at auy momeiit. However, pet, perhaps your Freucfauüin will not cali, aad then"- "Oh, but he will ! He said he would come this ifternoon. That is whv I have been so uervous. I was afraid you miaht he iíoíuec out, and" - "No; I will be h ere to proteet yon. Besides I expect Bob at any inonient. He said he would coma abont noou, aüd it is after that already. Perhaps that Í8 he now. Yes; three rings !" "Oh, so Romeo and Juliet have signáis ! But juinp up, Qneeu. He nmst uot oateh ns lyiug dowu and 'spooning. ' ' ' A moment later Mr. Mitchel eutered, to íiud both iris seated in the most dignifitrl maniier, reading uovels. Waiking ovit to Eruily, he stooped and kissed her ligbtly ou the forebead, whispering, "My Qneen. " Next be patted Dora ou the bead as one would pat a child. "Kmily, I have takeu the liberty of telling a friend of mine that he tnight cali here. You do not niindr" "Why, of course not, Boy." She had made thia name for bim by eliminating the lir.st ayllahle of bis secorid name, Leroy. Öhe told hini that tlius i?he could cali hiiu Kiug without heralding it to theworld. Almost iininediately the bell sounúed again, and Mr. Barnes was introduoed. Mr. Mitciiel presented him to the two ladies, and then devoted himself to Dora, thus leaviug tlie detective perfectly frce to converse with Emily. Being well edncated and having traveled through England early in life. Mr. Barnes soou made himself at ease and talked like any society man. Presently Mr. Mitehel look Dora lo the wiudow and stood there looking out and clnittiug, apparently atóorbed and nnobservaut of tbe others. Mr. Bvnes decided that this was bis opportnnity. "Pardon me, Mi.ss Remsen, and let the iuterest of a collector excuse tbe inipertiuenceof mynoticing tbat beautiftil pin which you wear. Cárneos, I think, ai-e too little appreciated nowdays. They are pafsed by, wbile statuettes bring f ancy prices. Yet does it not, i-equire exquisite ükill tocarve so small an object'í" "I agree with you, Mr. Barnes, and am not at aUngrywith yon for adruiriug uiy pin. You muy look at it if you wish. " Sayingwhich she tookitofï and handad it to hiiii. It was the facsimile of tho.se which Mr. Mitchel wore as buttons, save tbat it bote the image ol ShakeHpeare. The cauieo was monuted in a sold frarue, aud snironnded bydianiouds made a bcautiful ornament. "You would never guens, Mr. Barnes, that tbat was ouce auordiuary bnttou?' Mr. Barnes asumed au expressiou o) surprise as thongh the idea was entirely new to him. All he said was : "It muy havo been a Imttou, but surely liever au ordiuary one. " "Well. lio, not an ordiuary oue, of conree. I snpposfl yon know that lam Dgaged to your frieud?" Mr Barnes assented with a bow, and Emily contimied : "Shortly after'we became eugaged I went to Burope, and while there 1 came acrcss a joweler who produoed the most beantiful carvings in c-aiueo and ïntagho. I oróered a sot made to be used for buttons. ' ' "All similar to thist" "Similar, bnt not ideiitioal. This nne has Shakespeare'sheud. The others represent Romeo and Juliet. " Mr Barnes determined upon a bold stroke. Taldug. the buttou from his pocket, and handiug it to Ewily he said quiotly : "Here is a cameo of Juliet. Perhaps it ruay interest yon?" "Why, this Í9 extraordinary I Itisone of my set ■!" "Oue of yours. Wliy, have you lost oue? How niany did yon have?" "Therewere seveu, including this oue of Shakespeare. The other six" - Here slie stoned and colored dcelv "Miss Remseu. yon thiuk that ia oue of the original set. If so, of oonrse it is yours. andlshould be too glad torestore it to you. But iiavo you lost oue?'' "Lost oue? No - that is, I dou't know. " Sheseemed uiuch coufused and looked iuteutly at the bntton. Suddenly her whole expressiou changed, and witli her self possession fully vestored she startled Mr. Barnes bysayiug: "I aiu mistaken. This is not one of the original set. Yet it is very similar." Mr. Barnes did not know wbat te think. Did she divine that there might be sonie dang-?r in admitting that there was a seventh buttou sti 11 V Had that tnatuhless schtíiuer Mitchel sent, her a note ■warnitJg her to say tliat there ■were but seven in the original set? He conld not decide at oiice, bun hazarded oue more stroke. "Miss RemKeu, I have seen yonr portrait, and it struck me that that. button ia a cópy if it. What du you think?" The girl once more became confused aud staruuiercd, "I dou't kiiow. " Theu tuddeoly, and vith complete oomposnre agaiu, she said: "Yes; I think you are right. This is a copy from my picture. The portrait, svas made last surnmer, and afterward I allowetl the artist to exhibit it. I think photographs vt'ere made froin it. and possilily tiome camoo outter hus ïised it f or hifi work. " This vus ingenious, but not tory to Mr. Barues, for he knew that it was.far from probable that another geni i cutter sliuuld have used the picture and then have called it Juliet. Besides, it would have been too great a coincidenee to mako a button uf it. He decided, tlierefore, that the girl was doing the best she could to iuvent a plausible explanalioii to a question which Mr. Mitobel hiinseli had simply refused to auswer. Not wishing to arouse any suspieiou in hor mind that he doubted her word, ho replied quickly : "That is very likely, and surely he could not have choseu a better face for bis subject ' ' "Mr. Barnes," said.Emily, "yon offered just now to give nje this, thinking that I had lost it. Of course I should not accept a present froru one wliom I have had the pleusure of knowing for so short a time, but you are Mr. Mitchel's friend, and as I would really prefer not to have ïny portrait in the hands of strangers I accept jour gift with thanks. ' ' ïhis was entirely únexpected. When Mr. Barnes had ruado the reniark tbat he would be glad to restore herherown, be had done so feeling safe, becanse to obtaiu it she would need to adniit that she had lost it. Now it seemed that she had deprived him of bis piece of evidence. He did not know what to say when Mr. Mitchel walked across tö them and remarked pleasantly : "Well, Bmily, do you fiud my friend Mr. Barnes entertainiug?" "Mr. Barnes has been most agreeable, Roy, and, seo, he has actually given ïue a present, ' ' say ing which she handed üie button to Mr. Mitchel, across whoso countenance Mr. Barnes thonght ho saw a fleetiiig smile of tnunipb pass.. "I mi pvoud of you, Emily. You comiuand bullíale vherever you extend iuflueuce. Doyonknow.Mr. Barnes refnsed tü givo tiiis carneo to me only this morning. You can gues.s vhy 1 wauted it. '' "Because it has niy picture copied on it?" "Exactly. Mr. Barnes, allow me to add hit thauka to those oí' Miss Remsen. Yon can readily appreciate-why v?e prefer to liave this bauble iii our owu possessiou?" Mr. Barnes thought that hoconld. He saw that lie was fairly caught, and that be could do uothing witbout making a sceuu. He mít aglauce fromMr. Mitchel Avliicli we knew was rueaut to reuiiuil liiin of lii.s promise not to aunoy Misa Eemsen. He liad about decided that he had been a fooi to ínake 6tich a pronii.sc and to have visitcd tho place at all wbeu he snddenly changed his niiud as a servant announeed: "Mr. Alpliouse Tbauret." imniediately the detective remembered the name. It wns upon the card iven to hiía by the Freuclmiau who had lef tho train at ötamford. He was watchiug Mr. Mitcliel wlien tiio uewcomer was thns unexpectedly annonnced, aud lie thought lietletected aglunceof displeasure. Were these two nien acqoaiiited, acconiplices perlinas? "Mr. Mituhel, let me preseut Mr. Thamet," said Dora. "I liave had the pleasure of meeting the gentleman before," replied Mr. Mitchel, aud ■svith a stift' bowbe crossed to the side of Emily as though to preTi-nt au introduction to her. This of conrse was impossible, and Mr. Mitchel was plaiuly aunoyed. Bmily stepped forward, extended her haud to Mr.' ïhauret, and theu, tnrning, presented hiiu to Mr. Barnes, wlio had ariseu, and whü aimply hmved. "Ah! Mr. Barnes," suid the Frenchruan, "t am delighted ro meet you agidu. " v "Why, do you know Mr. Barnesalso!" oried Dura, greatly surprised. "Who doea uot know Mr. Barnes, the celebrated detective?" Ho said this in thafc extreínely polite tone so mnch assamed by h:.s race wheu incliued to be most complimentary Yet Mr. Barnes thonght thiir he had sonie sinister motive iu thus proclaiming his connection with the pólice. Was it to prevent him from Ciillin npou these women agaiu? If so, hi! failed to uiake the desired impi'ession upon Dora, for that young wouuiii seeaied fairly eurapttired. "A detective?" said slie. ''Areyou really the great Mr Barnes?" 1 aia a detective, but scareely a great uno. " "Oh, but yon are, yon are! I rend ni] about the wonderful way in which yon caught that man Pettiugill. Aud uow tell me, are you goiug to catch the man who robbed the womau on the Boston train yesterday?" "How do you know that it is a man?" asked Mr. Barnes, aintised at her inipetuosity and pleascd at the turn taken by the eonversation "Oh, it is not a woman ! I ana snre of that. I read about it iu the papers this ruorning. I bought three, so as not to miss anythiug. No woman would have been clever enough to plan it all, and theu carry it out so thoronghly. " "ïhis is very interestiug, " said Mr. Thauret. "Of conrse. I, too, have read the papers, but beaides that, as you know. Mr. Barnes, X was on the train wvself , and the first to be searched. I have thought of the case ever since. In my own country we claiin that onr detectives can nnrave! any mystery, and I am curious to know how you will manage in an affair of this kind. The thief evidently is clever ; do you not think so?" Mr. Mitchel had drawn apart and apparently was absorbed in a cnnversation with Emily. Kevertlieless Mr. Barnes was confident that he missed little of what waa beina said by the group cf ivhich he hiinself was oue. Under ordiiary circumstauces he wonld not for a moment have tliought of speaking of so importaut a oase bef ore one wlio at least uight be suspected of complicity. But these were uot ordinary circuinstances. Here were two men,, about both of whom there was a rnysterious connection svith the crime, or crimes, whicb he was investigating. If either, or both, were Luilty, it was evident from their courage in visiting unconcernedly at the very building in which the murder had been sommitted that estíbeme skill would be required to obtain a conviction. Tlie detective therefore considered that thesemen must be met with niethods as bold as their own. Speakiiig in a tone loud enough to reach Mr. Mitchel's ears he said: "I think that the thief is clever, but that he is not bo clever as he considers himseif. " "How is that?" "He believed - I say he, because, like Miss Remsen, I think it is a man" - "How delightful of you to agree with rae," said Dora. "This man, then," continued Mr. Barnes, "considers that he has misled ine. He thinks that when I directed that all the passengers should be searched I did so hopiug to find the lost jewels, whereas I was not lookiug for tbe jewels, but for the thief . ' ' "How could you do that?" "You ruay think rue egotistio, trat I hoped to detect him ty bis conduct. I was entirely sucoessfu]. I know who stole the jewels. " This was a bold assertion, especially as Mr. Barnes had not decided the matter in his own inind. He wished to note the faces of these men when he made the statement. He gained nothing by the maueuver, for Mr. Hitehel seemed not to have beard, white the Frenchman quickly said: ' ' Bravo ! Bravo 1 You are better than Leoocq. It is like a wizard's trick. Yon pass the suspects before you in review, and then, presto 1 yon piek out the criminal with your eye. That is a charming method, and so simple !" (To be oontiuued.)